George Bush likes to brag that it is better that we are fighting them (the terrorists) over there (Iraq) rather than here. But does it really matter where Americans are dying and being maimed? Either way, Bush has his fight. And in so doing, he can take credit for one big success. He has created an amazingly effective recruiting tool for "insurgents", "guerrillas", "fighters", and other anti-American "terrorists". In all the intelligence analysis, from American and European sources, before and after 9/11, there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had been involved in any way in direct anti-American terrorist efforts. None. There were lists of many countries where intelligence agencies had tied groups in those countries to anti-American terrorist activities. None of those lists included Iraq. Bush has created a petri dish for anti-American hatred. He has set up our men and women as targets. And he is now reaping the result.
In a story in the Observer, it is clear how this petri dish for anti-American hatred has resulted in increased recruitment efforts around the world. Nevermind, the ongoing recruitment efforts in the Middle East, in South Asia and in Southeast Asia among Muslim young men, this piece concentrates on efforts in Europe itself. Not only is Syria a hotbed of jumping off spots into Iraq, not only is Iran in cahoots with the anti-American Iraqi Shiites, now Europe is a major recruitment base for new fighters, suicide bombers, and money.
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor, draws a stark picture of how old and dormant networks have come to life, and how new networks of recruitment have developed.
Beaumont writes: "Some intelligence sources believe that there are now up to 21 networks active in Europe, some of them linked to more than 60 groups in the Mahgreb area of north Africa, involved in training and recruitment of volunteers, many for suicide bombing missions in Iraq. "
It's as if Bush sat down with Cheney and Rumsfeld and asked how can America, in the wake of 9/11, create a situation where we are mired in a dead-end war, where we have lost most of the world's sympathy for 9/11, and where anti-American sentiment is used throughout the world to recruit against us.
This is what they came up with.